Stupid Flyers tie up the stupid series and stupid Pronger probably thinks his puck stealing antics might have tipped the scales. And now the NHL – who had a great idea with this backwards footage commercials – pump them out like there’s no tomorrow.
Instead of debating that into the ground, lets talk some more about the City of Glendale, which is determined to hang on to it’s beloved Coyotes regardless of cost or how hooped their economy already is.
FIRST THE FACTS
Pity if you will for a moment the conundrum of Glendale, Arizona, with the City of Winnipeg charging hard to reclaim the Jets and bring them back to the ice and snow. Add in the NHL, impossibly owning the team and looking for every reason to keep an unprofitable US franchise firmly in place. You know cause that long awaited National TV deal is right around the corner.
Finally there is the City of Glendale looking to do anything and everything possible to entice a new owner to come to Arizona and piddle their money away for another decade.
Since the Coyotes moved to Glendale in 2003 they have reportedly has lost $200 million-plus. This is amazing when you consider that the team moved out to Glendale from it’s original arena with the vague idea they would make more money in a new arena. Enter the spaciously elegant – and heavily subsidized – jobing.com arena with it’s luxury boxes, luxury seats and luxury towncars.
Sounds like a recipe to print money right?
Two years after the move into the new arena Coyotes owner Steve Ellman seemed to understand that the team wasn’t going to make money until the Mayan Calendar turns over again, so he sold the team to trucking magnate Jerry Moyes in 2005.
Moyes continued the tradition of cheerfully propping up team losses until his natonal trucking company got shellacked by the one two punch of increased fuel prices and decreased freight traffic due to the overall crappiness of the American economy, which we estimates looks like this:
Which also had the effect of making the Glendale property prices go like this:
The fortunes of the Coyotes haven’t been helped by the Coyotes themselves, who have played something like this:
And now Glendale faces the real chance the Coyotes will leave town unless their spending to subsidize the team goes like this:
Which, amongst cash strapped and underwater Glendale citizens is about as popular as this:
But knowing that the Coyotes are the anchor tenant of a half built entertainment district that can’t attract financing already Glendale is in a real pickle. The hope that the sports and entertainment distruct will ultimately bring in much needed tax dollars and help put the City back on it’s feet has left the City Council looking something like this:
AND NOW THE DEBATE
Knowing all of this background information, one has to admire the Glendale City Council. These cats are determined to work with the NHL (who is in an extraordinary conflict of interest owning the franchise) and Ice Edge Holdings, which is in the running to keep the team in the desert for the forseeable future.
Together they are "working on the major parts of the deal," which is getting more lopsided and unbelievable by the day.
Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding just released recently by the City of Glendale:
"The Buyer (of the Coyotes) will assign to the City … the right to manage, operate and receive revenues of the Parking Improvements and the related parking facilities for the Arena.
The (City of Glendale) will pay the Buyer an annual fee for granting the City the right to manage and operate the Parking Improvements (the “Parking Operations Fee”), which shall be payable in monthly installments equal to the amount of net parking fees collected, with any amount of the Parking Operations Fee not paid in monthly installments paid in full at year end."
Yes, yes. We can hear you now:
"Well that’s just fantastic Wanye. You have sullied my weekend with heavy graphing and a smattering of legalese. Condense it down for a fella will you?"
This basically means that the City of Glendale is going to guarantee the Coyotes $7.5 million per season in parking revenue as part of a larger strategic plan to "bend-over-backwards-and-take-one-in-the-rear."
If that isn’t enough – along with a heavily subsidized arena to begin with – the City is also prepared to guarantee $10 million in additional losses annually.
COMPARING PHX TO EDM
When people speak of the City of Edmonton "wasting money on an NHL team" by owning the proposed arena, we think it’s important to look at what wasting money really looks like. The civic debt of Glendale, AZ is twice the national average during a time when virtually every City Council in the US gulp nervously when their own debt comes for renewal.
Everyone who lives in a City that can ill afford to be throwing more money after bad please stand up:
We would have to say that this type of fiscal activity borders on reckless, considering the dire financial state of the City of Glendale and the amount of money it has already pumped into the area.
The City has bet big on Pro Sports being a large part of the service economy in the City of only 225,000 tax payers, having been a large part of the continued funding of the Coyotes, the Jobing.com arena, an NFL arena and a pair of spring training facilities.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the plan has failed and the people of Glendale are starting to freak out too.
Reports the Arizona Republic:
"I think (the City Council of Glendale) did do a good job for a while," said (Glendale Resient) Jones, 77. "But this wild spending … they went overboard. Their legacy will be they are the people that have left Glendale hopelessly in debt." Jones is referring to the hundreds of millions of dollars Glendale invested to turn farm fields in the western part of the city into a bustling sports and entertainment district.
The area is now home to professional football and hockey, spring-training baseball and dozens of new restaurants and businesses, bringing jobs and tax revenue along the way.
And, as the economy falters, the city’s promises for the area’s growth have not all panned out. The shopping complex Westgate City Center is behind its building schedule, the Phoenix Coyotes were on the verge of leaving after the hockey team’s owner declared bankruptcy this summer and the retail center planned around the spring-training ballpark hasn’t broken ground.
The developer, HB Equities LLC, still can’t find financing. Jones is worried that Glendale’s debt levels could endanger funding for services like police, sewers or streetlights, though city officials have repeatedly touted plans to pay off debt quickly without impact on services to residents."
IN CONCLUSION WE CONCLUDE
Increasingly the fortunes of Cities and their Pro Sports teams have become more and more intertwined. Down in Glendale they have a City of a quarter million residents, with little economic momentum who has already pumped hundreds of millions into four seperate stadiums, a heavily subsidized sports and entertainment district and has footed the bill for parts of the operations of its Pro teams.
Here in conservative ol’ Edmonton we have an arena that was funded jointly by City, Provincial and Federal dollars waaaaay back in 1974. In the 36 years hence, it is fair to say that this building has been paid off and owes the tax payers of the three governments little if anything else.
The long and steady utilization of the publicly funded arena for nearly a half of a century hardly smacks of financial mismanagement. A repeat of the project some 40 years later will result in a similar run of prosperous operation until the year 2054 if the building lives to be the same age.
And unlike the fortunes of Glendale, things seem to be mercifully stable up here in the frozen snow.
Did we mention we hate Chris Pronger? And love arenas? And feel sorry for Glendale?
Good. Now it’s time to go out and party.